Photo by Caleb Motsinger
Sophomore LaJarvia Brown drives down the court for a fast break in the third quarter of Wednesday's loss to Edwardsville. She had eight points in the Birds' 27-point Southwestern Conference loss.
Alton freshman Jasmine Bishop and sophomore Jordann Wilson each matched for nine points, but Southwestern Conference powerhouse Edwardsville used a smothering defense and powerful post play to put the Redbirds away at home 66-39.
Thursday night was the Redbirds' first game back at Alton High in over a month. And though snow days and water damage to the school's floor have caused games and practices to be rescheduled, Redbirds head coach Bob Rickman said this young team’s problem doesn’t just stem from a change in schedule, but from how they match up to the opposing Tigers.
“We’ve got some starters that know what to do, but we can’t simulate a 6-foot-3 Courtney Dunbar and we can’t simulate Leigha Covington,” Rickman said. “Our girls weren’t ready for that because we haven’t had the quality practices we have needed to simulate their kind of play.”
Edwardsville is 13-0 in the league and 23-1 overall. Their play in the game’s first half set a precedent for the rest of the game, scoring 26 first-quarter points to Alton’s three.
“We had a lot of ups and downs in tonight’s game and I think a lot of what our problem is goes back to our practices,” Alton coach Bob Rickman said. "I don’t think we’ve had the kind of quality practices it takes to get ready for the postseason.”
The Redbirds are 6-6 in the conference and 13-11 overall. They are currently fifth in their conference standings behind Belleville West, East St. Louis and Belleville East. And though Alton began to surge back in the second quarter, moving the score up to 21-36, that was the closest they would get to the Tigers. They fell behind 28-49 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, leading to a 27-point loss by the end of the night.
Megan Paulda contributed six points, LaJarvia Brown had eight and Jewel Wagner tossed in two. Dunbar led the Tigers with 20 points, with Covington adding 19 to seal the deal.
The Redbirds will be back in action Saturday in another conference matchup at Collinsville.